Sunday, July 15, 2012

Subway Etiquette In Beijing

In a subway system known for massive crowds that push their way on and off trains, the authorities in Beijing would seem to be fighting an uphill battle in their current quest for changing the rules of the game.

There are the uniformed subway employees who attempt to enforce lining up at train doors for boarding passengers. For the most part, riders seem to obey, except for this one group of teenage boys we watched cut to the front of the line. The ayi wasn't happy, but there was little she could do.

And then there is this cartoon series, which features a young couple riding the subway in a number of difficult situations. In the series depicted above, the man is running to make the train before the doors close. Although he makes it, his female companion does not, getting wedged in the doors. In another episode, our friend tries to bring a drink and a knife through the security checkpoint. Once again, the outcome is shame for him in front of his female friend.

Although these kinds of efforts appear to be making a difference at the margins, the larger issue, of course, is the sheer number of riders squeezing onto trains. Even with all of the ongoing metro construction, the system is literally bursting at its seams. In that sense, the DC system should be so lucky...

~Steve

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